It's obvious that with summer drawing to a close and kids returning to school, there are fewer opportunities for quality family time. Another downside to school going back is that the overall family schedule becomes overloaded. This unfortunately can lead to parents getting in a habit of choosing those “go to” that are easier on their time constraints and as well all know, “go-to” typically translates into something involving the TV or electronics.
Therefore, in an effort to support family unity as well as be mindful of the "beat the clock" mindset, I have created a list of 45 activities families can do together. Keep in mind, not everyone will have access to every suggestion, however, I have tried to create a fairly comprehensive list with a variety of activities that will meet budget and time requirements. So I think everyone will be able to find something that will be perfect for them.
1. Go for a bike ride, regardless of distance.
2. Go see a play.
3. Go to the gym together.
4. Fold laundry (I know this seems like a bad idea, but it really can be turned into a fun activity and helpful at the same time)
5. Plant a garden or a potted plant.
6. Make a meal together.
7. Play a sport together and/or teach each other how to play.
8. Have a game night.
9. Go for a walk.
10. Have a picnic on the beach or in the park. You can pick up sea shells, go swimming, walk the dogs, play games outside, etc.
11. Paint a room in your house or re-do a room
12. Everyone can work on a puzzle together.
13. Read a book together. Again, I know this sounds odd, but my husband and I read with our kids every day. Your kids are what you teach them to be and if you want them to be excited about reading, you have to show them how.
14. Drag out all those pictures and put together a photo album.
15. Sit outside and watch the sunset
16. Try something completely new like Yoga, kickboxing, zip lining, horseback riding. There are many things offered at your local community center that are very inexpensive and sometimes free.
17. Go to the zoo.
18. Plan a special day trip to a location nearby.
19. Take dancing lessons together or just be silly and dance in your own your living room.
20. Take in a baseball game together. Many towns have a minor league baseball team and you can get tickets for about $5 (give or take).
21. You can do something that offers a little more family completion such as going bowling, roller blading, fishing, miniature golf, or hiking.
22. Go to open houses. My family does this just to get out of the house and see what we might like to do to ours.
23. Go to a coffee shop or a book store and just chill out.
24. Run/walk a marathon together.
25. Volunteer as a family.
26. Try out a flea market.
27. Sit by the fire and just talk.
28. Go camping, even if it's just in the front yard.
29. Play Frisbee
30. When it's raining, go play!
31. Try a fondue night or any new food/meal. You can even make it a weekly thing.
32. Make s’mores. If you don't have a fireplace, you can do what my family does, makes "ghetto s’mores". Take a terracotta ceramic pot, put tinfoil inside, fill it with coals, put some marshmallow on skewer sticks, and there you go!
33. Make a desert from scratch.
34. Head to a car dealer and test drive cars you’ve been dying to check out. This can be useful and fun. It's another way to get out of the house and it's a way to start teaching your kids about budgeting in an effort to save for something you really want.
35. Try out a Farmers Market
36. Make a family tree.
37. Head to a local museum
38. Make sundaes.
39. Go to an amusement park or fair.
40. Create something like a blanket fort, pillow fortress, LEGO cave, etc!
41. Have your kids’ help you create a "family goals" board showing trips you would like to take or things you would like to have one day, like that new car!
42. Clean out and organize the garage, closets, basement, or attic
43. Have a scavenger hunt!
44. Take one large vacations such white water rafting, water parks, theme parks, etc. Try not to make these larger trips frequent. When they are less frequent, it gives the kids something to really look forward to and in turn, enjoy that much more when they are able to go. It provides less opportunity to take it for granted.
45. Go swimming or just turn on the water in the yard, you can even have a water balloon/water gun fight!
I hope you enjoyed this list and also found several things to try out. Family time is so very important. Not only because it contributes to many of the necessary building blocks our children need, but also because it allows parents to take advantage of those opportunities that will not have once their children have families of their own!